Lancaster is one of the oldest inland cities in the United States of America. It is 71 miles west of Philadelphia and is snuggled along the north and west by the mighty Susquehanna River.
German immigrants, known as Pennsylvania Dutch (from "Deutsch" meaning German), were the first to settle in the area in 1709. At that time it was known as "Hickory Town". The Honorable James Hamilton laid it out in building lots and out lots, and in May 10, 1729, it became the county seat. John Wright, a prominent citizen, gave it the name "Lancaster" after Lancaster, England where he formerly lived. The city is known as the "Red Rose City" due to its link to Lancaster, England. Lancaster became a borough in 1742, a charted city on March 10, 1818, and surrendered its ancient city charter and became a Third Class City under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on May 27, 1924.
Lancaster was an important munitions center during the Revolutionary war. It was National Capital of the American colonies on September 27, 1777, when the Continental Congress was fleeing British forces (who had captured Philadelphia). From 1799 to 1812, Lancaster was the capital of Pennsylvania.